Since our last virtual multichannel update focused on sports networks, the virtual multichannel video programming distributors we track have doubled down on adding sports networks to their channel lineups to attract cord-cutters who are looking for better alternatives to traditional multichannel services. All eight virtual multichannel video programming distributors in our database offer at least two sports networks in their plans.
* Virtual multichannel services continue to add sports networks to their channel lineups to encourage more households to cut the cord and transition from traditional to virtual.
* Many virtual multichannel video programming distributors offer different kinds of sports networks, from international sports networks to college sports networks and regional sports networks, to cater to different demographics across the U.S.
* FuboTV lives up to its sports-centric marketing as it offers the widest selection of sports networks to cater to a wide variety of sports fans.
We analyzed 84 sports networks and 54 regional sports networks, each carried by at least one of the 20 virtual multichannel base packages in our database. Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.'s motor sports network, Motor Trend, is available in the most number of packages, offered in 15 base packages. It was one of the cheapest sports networks in our database, with an estimated affiliate revenue per average sub per month of 15 cents in 2022, which may have contributed to its wide coverage among the virtual multichannel video programming distributors, or vMVPDs.
Looking at the estimated affiliate revenue per average sub per month of each sports network, seven of the 10 most expensive sports networks are part of at least 10 base virtual multichannel packages. Of the four most expensive networks, three are available in 14 base virtual multichannel packages: ESPN, FOX Sports 1 and ESPN2. The Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN is still the most expensive sports network in our database, with an estimated affiliate revenue per average sub per month of $8.72.
Among the eight virtual multichannel services we track, sports-centric vMVPD fuboTV offers the widest array of sports networks in its lineup. The Premier package offers 48 sports networks, the most among the 20 base packages in our database, and it includes ESPN and Fox Sports 1, college sports networks such as ACC Network and SEC Network, and other niche sports networks such as Golf Channel and Tennis Channel. It is worth noting that fuboTV does not carry TNT and TBS, which carry the sports rights to premium sports content such as the NCAA Men's Division I basketball, which includes NCAA March Madness, NBA and MLB.
An analysis of the RSNs available on the vMVPDs shows that fuboTV offers the largest selection among the operators, with up to 42 RSNs available on its Pro, Elite and Premier packages including all of NBC's RSNs. DIRECTV Stream is a close second with 40 RSNs available on its Choice, Ultimate and Premier packages, including Longhorn Network and YES Network. Meanwhile, Sling TV, Philo and frndly TV are the only services we track that do not carry RSNs on any of their base packages.
A closer look at the nine college sports networks shows that Vidgo offers the most with eight networks. ESPN College Extra is the only college sports network not available on Vidgo, with Hulu + Live TV being the only vMVPD in our database to offer the channel. Most of the college sports networks we track are available on Sling TV, but Stadium is the only one available on its base packages; the other seven networks are available on Sling's Sports Extra add-on package.
Our database includes 29 sports networks that cover international sporting events or are presented in a different language, including Hispanic sports networks such as ESPN Deportes and TUDN. TUDN is the most widely available international sports network, available in 10 different base packages from DIRECTV Stream, fuboTV and Vidgo and as an add-on in all three of Sling's packages. FuboTV has the widest array of international sports networks, with its Elite and Premier packages offering networks such as TUDN and 11 of its extra channels as well as beIN SPORTS and six of its extra channels.
Five of the eight virtual multichannel networks we track offer a few add-on packages that include sports networks and eight add-on packages solely dedicated to sports networks. FuboTV offers seven packages with at least two sports networks included, the most among the vMVPDs. Its Sports Plus with NFL RedZone add-on package offers the biggest selection of sports networks among the add-on packages and costs $10.99 a month.
Economics of Networks is a regular feature from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence's TMT offering, providing exclusive research and commentary.
This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.